Iowa based Volquartsen provides 1911 shooters with a .22 lower alternative

Shot of Volquartsen Custom's new 1911 pistol lower at the 2013 SHOT Show in Las Vegas, Nevada Las Vegas, Nevada - Hard charging firearm aficionados know the name Volquartsen. But for the rest of the public, they probably didn't know anything about them until Dustin Ellermann made his improbably golf ball shot with a Volquartsen .22 rifle on History Channel's top rated shooting show Top Shot. That's when the rest of you took notice.

Based in Carroll, Iowa, this basement based start-up rose from a custom bluing shop into one of the premier 10/22 manufacturers in the world. But they didn't stop there. They went on to make their mark on the rimfire, .22 pistol and .223 field as well. Recently, however, they decided to concentrate on the pistols.

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Spirit, spunk and drive takes Gabby from Venezuela to Olympics to Top Shot

Top Shot's Gabby Franco trying out a rifle during the NRA Convention in St. Louis
Top Shot's Gabby Franco tries out a scope at the NRA Convention in St. Louis, Missouri.

The contestants from History Channel's hit show Top Shot have been incredibly generous with their time and insight over the years. Everyone from Iain Harrison to Chris Reed, Mike Hughes, George Reinas, Dustin Ellermann, Greg Littlejohn, Terry Vaughan and Chris Cheng have shared stories about their experience in life and on the show.

While all were impressive, there was one who stood out ... NRA Certified Instructor Gabriela “Gabby” Franco.

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Port Clinton, Ohio - All the Top Shot fans out there will remember this line — "Hey diddle diddle, right down the middle!"

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Chris Cheng during Top Shot - Photo courtesy of History

Proving to be a man of his word (like we had a doubt), reigning Top Shot champ Chris Cheng sent us an update earlier this week via twitter.

Turns out his History Channel prize money finally arrived. In a letter to Wayne LaPierre, Cheng confirms earlier intentions for his first investment:

Dear Mr. LaPierre,

On May 1, 2012, the History Channel aired Top Shot Season 4’s finale, and it became known that I beat out 17 other competitors for the title of Top Shot. I am a self-taught shooter who had a day job at Google for the past 5 years. Along with a $100,000 cash prize (that came in the mail about a week ago), I won a professional shooting contract with the show’s sponsor, Bass Pro Shops. I’m very excited to pursue this contract and live the American dream of prospering through hard work and my determination to succeed.

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Top Shot competitor Gabby Franco takes a shooting break The photo Gabby Franco submitted with her initial Top Shot application ... photo courtesy of Gabby Franco.
St. Louis, Missouri - After arriving on the sandy shores of Miami, Florida, soon to be NRA Certified Instructor Gabby Franco found herself waist deep in guns. Determined to immerse herself in the firearms industry, she spent the next six years traveling from trainers to ranges to shops and manufacturers. Then there was a call from home.

"My brother called from Venezuela," she started. "They were playing Season 1 of Top Shot down there and he said, 'Gabby you have to apply!' I was like … a tv show? Yea, right, me on television ... okay."

With less then a head full of steam, she emailed her background and a picture. As luck would have it — they called her right up.

"We like your email, but you need to send in an application and video. So I sent in the information. I was invited to the tryouts and well, you see, I made the show!"

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Top Shot's Greg Littlejohn posing for a picture at the NRA Convention in St. Louis While in St. Louis for the 2012 NRA Convention, we located Top Shot Season 4 runner-up Greg Littlejohn. Greg was nice enough to take a few minutes to talk about a variety of things. With all that happens here at the NRA, a majority of the material from that meeting has been sitting in the to-do pile. No more.


St. Louis, Missouri - "The show was a chance to reach out to the public and jump in to the professional (shooting market)."

That's how Gregory Littlejohn viewed his time on History Channel's Top Shot. Coming in second to California's Chris Cheng, Littlejohn's persona on the show at times appeared aloof before turning into the hard nosed competitor who withstood three elimination challenges. While he might not be all that happy with his public perception, he has found a silver lining in the exposure.

"I'm sure there's a hundred people in this convention hall that could outshoot me in a variety of firearms," said Littlejohn. "But I was lucky enough to get appear on Top Shot. So even if I'm not the best shooter in the world, there are opportunities now available that were unavailable before."

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Top Shot Olympian Gabby Franco - photo courtesy of Gabby
Top Shot Olympian Gabby Franco - photo courtesy of Gabby
Gabriela “Gabby” Franco was a world-class shooter before stepping on stage for Season 4 of History Channel's Top Shot. As a member of Venezuela's international pistol team, she developed a perseverance that would ultimately land her here in the United States.
The fortunes of Gabby Franco turned in the summer of 2000. She had just competed in the Olympic Games. Traveled halfway across the world to Australia. While the whirlwind of excitement and possibilities resulted in an almost unparalleled collection of memories, she would go home without a medal.

Previous efforts on the international stage always appeared to top out at Silver. Taking what she learned during her years of training, and what she witnessed during the weeks of olympic excellence in Sydney, Gabby took the next step in her development. Everything — the year of dry firing, the time away from family, the countless hours of sacrifice — was about to pay off.

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Cowboy Mounted Action Shooting Champ Kenda Lenseigne won her fourth NRA Bianchi Cup Celebrity Pro-Am event.

Kenda Lenseigne shoots against Iain Harrison in the Celebrity Pro-Am

Columbia, Missouri - There's nothing wrong with a little friendly competition. That's especially true when it comes to the MidwayUSA & NRA Bianchi Cup's Celebrity Pro-Am Event. Divided into four primary categories, the Pro-Am is a mixture of celebrities, sponsors, press and professional shooters.

This year, the Celebrity match started as Cowboy Mounted Action Shooting Champion Kenda Lenseigne stood side by side with actor Marshall Teague. Kenda, last year's top celebrity shooter, dispatched Teague for a chance to defend her 2011 title.

Her opponent in the final round would be Top Shot's Iain Harrison. Harrison finished ahead Chuck's Mark Christopher Lawrence in the opening round and appeared to be in perfect position to stage an upset. Unfortunately for Iain, Kenda was a little quicker on the trigger as she won her 4th consecutive Celebrity Pro-Am title.

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